25 days in Ningaloo, Great Barrier Reef & Sydney Itinerary

25 days in Ningaloo, Great Barrier Reef & Sydney Itinerary

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Route & dates

25 days in Ningaloo, Great Barrier Reef & Sydney Itinerary

Start: Charleston
Fly:  42​h
1
Ningaloo
— 4 nights
Fly:  17​h 30​min
2
Townsville
— 1 day
Fly:  2​h
3
Cairns
— 4 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
4
Port Douglas
— 2 nights
shuttle + Fly:  3​h 45​min
5
Hamilton Island
— 3 nights
Travel:  3​h
6
Whitsunday Island
— Few hours
bus:  1​h 15​min
7
Airlie Beach
— 2 nights
+2
bus + taxi + Fly:  5​h 45​min
8
Sydney
— 5 nights
Fly:  29​h
End: Charleston


4
nights
Ningaloo

Ningaloo ©
Visiting Turquoise Bay and Shark Diving will get you outdoors. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Osprey Bay and Potshot Memorial. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Ningaloo: Exmouth (The Ningaloo Gallery & Yardie Creek).

To see other places to visit, traveler tips, and other tourist information, go to the Ningaloo trip planner .

Charleston, USA to Ningaloo is an approximately 42-hour flight. The time zone difference moving from Eastern Standard Time to Australian Western Standard Time is 13 hours. May in Ningaloo sees daily highs of 33°C and lows of 18°C at night. You will leave for Townsville on the 10th (Fri).

Things to do in Ningaloo

Outdoors Parks Adventure

Side Trip

Exmouth
Find places to stay May 6 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Turquoise Bay ©
Turquoise Bay
Shark Diving
The Ningaloo Gallery ©
The Ningaloo Gallery

1
day
Townsville

Townsville ©
Tucked snugly beneath a steep, craggy mount--known as Castle Hill--the vibrant city of Townsville is as picturesque as its backdrop.
Start off your visit on the 11th (Sat): browse the exhibits of Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, then step off the mainland to explore Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium, and then tour the pleasant surroundings at The Strand.

For maps, more things to do, ratings, and other tourist information, refer to the Townsville route maker tool .

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Ningaloo to Townsville. The time zone changes from Australian Western Standard Time to Australian Eastern Standard Time (Queensland), which is usually a 2 hour difference. In May, daily temperatures in Townsville can reach 32°C, while at night they dip to 21°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 11th (Sat) to allow enough time to travel to Cairns.

Things to do in Townsville

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Find places to stay May 10 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
The Strand ©
The Strand
Perc Tucker Regional Gallery ©
Perc Tucker Regional Gallery

4
nights
Cairns

Cairns ©
A neat, cosmopolitan city of shaded plazas and laid-back neighborhoods, Cairns serves as a popular base for exploration of the surrounding region and the Great Barrier Reef, as well as a center for watersport activities like surfing or waterskiing.
Take a break from the city and head to Palm Cove Beach and Michaelmas Cay. Step off the beaten path and head to Trinity Beach and St Monica's Cathedral. Step out of Cairns to go to Yungaburra and see Curtain Fig National Park, which is approximately 1h 15 min away. Spend the 15th (Wed) among aquatic life with a scuba or snorkeling tour. Next up on the itinerary: choose your vessel at Shaolin Junk Cruises.

To see more things to do, traveler tips, ratings, and more tourist information, read Cairns trip planner.

You can fly from Townsville to Cairns in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. May in Cairns sees daily highs of 32°C and lows of 24°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 15th (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Port Douglas.

Things to do in Cairns

Parks Outdoors Wildlife

Side Trips

Palm Cove Beach, Curtain Fig National Park, Trinity Beach
Find places to stay May 11 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Trinity Beach ©
Trinity Beach
Scuba & Snorkeling
Palm Cove Beach ©
Palm Cove Beach

2
nights
Port Douglas

A holiday in Port Douglas balances an activity-filled getaway with plenty of opportunities to relax, thanks to its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef and bustling beach life.
Kick off your visit on the 16th (Thu): discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 17th (Fri): stroll through Four Mile Beach, meet the residents at Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas, and then make a trip to St Mary’s by The Sea chapel.

To see traveler tips, other places to visit, more things to do, and tourist information, go to the Port Douglas trip planning tool .

Drive from Cairns to Port Douglas in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or do a combination of bus and shuttle. In May, plan for daily highs up to 32°C, and evening lows to 24°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 17th (Fri) so you can travel to Hamilton Island.

Things to do in Port Douglas

Outdoors Adventure Tours
Find places to stay May 15 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas ©
Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas
Four Mile Beach ©
Four Mile Beach

3
nights
Hamilton Island

A trip to Hamilton Island takes you to a car-free destination mostly covered in bushland.
Kick off your visit on the 18th (Sat): head outdoors with Jetryder, stroll through Catseye Beach, and then relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour and then have some family-friendly fun at Sports Club.

For ratings, maps, more things to do, and more tourist information, use the Hamilton Island road trip site .

Getting from Port Douglas to Hamilton Island by combination of shuttle and flight takes about 4 hours. Other options: do a combination of taxi, train, bus, and ferry; or do a combination of shuttle, bus, and ferry. Traveling from Port Douglas in May, you will find days in Hamilton Island are little chillier (28°C), and nights are about the same (24°C). Finish your sightseeing early on the 20th (Mon) to allow enough time to travel to Whitsunday Island.

Things to do in Hamilton Island

Outdoors Parks Adventure
Find places to stay May 17 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Sports Club ©
Sports Club
Spas & Wellness

few
hours
Whitsunday Island

Whitsunday Island ©
On the 20th (Mon), kick back and relax at Whitehaven Beach.

For photos, reviews, more things to do, and more tourist information, use the Whitsunday Island trip itinerary planning site .

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Hamilton Island to Whitsunday Island. Traveling from Hamilton Island in May, expect little chillier with lows of 19°C in Whitsunday Island. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 20th (Mon) so you can catch the ferry to Airlie Beach.

Things to do in Whitsunday Island

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Find places to stay May 20 — 21:
Highlights from your plan
Whitehaven Beach ©
Whitehaven Beach

2
nights
Airlie Beach

Airlie Beach ©
Very much a town with an emphasis on the tropical lifestyle, Airlie Beach offers exotic surroundings with palm trees and charming, sandy beaches.
Start off your visit on the 21st (Tue): enjoy the sand and surf at Boathaven Beach and then hike along Whitsunday Great Walk. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: choose your vessel at Boab Boat Hire Airlie Beach.

To see other places to visit, maps, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read Airlie Beach journey planner.

You can ride a ferry from Whitsunday Island to Airlie Beach in 1.5 hours. Expect a bit warmer evenings in Airlie Beach when traveling from Whitsunday Island in May, with lows around 24°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Wed) so you can travel to Sydney.

Things to do in Airlie Beach

Outdoors Parks Tours
Find places to stay May 20 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Whitsunday Great Walk ©
Whitsunday Great Walk
Airlie Boat Hire ©
Airlie Boat Hire

5
nights
Sydney

Sydney ©
Lent iconic status as a result of its famous bridge and opera house, Sydney has a down-to-earth charm that enhances its spectacular setting and functional efficiency.
You'll enjoy a bit of beach vacationing at Bondi Beach and Shelly Beach. Take a break from the city and head to Sydney Harbour National Park and The Opera House to the Botanic Gardens Walk. There's lots more to do: enjoy the sand and surf at Manly Beach, take a stroll through The Rocks, and stroll through Clovelly.

To find ratings, traveler tips, photos, and other tourist information, read Sydney holiday planner.

Charleston, USA to Sydney is an approximately 29-hour flight. Traveling from Charleston to Sydney, you'll lose 15 hours due to the time zone difference. Traveling from Charleston in May, expect Sydney to be little chillier, temps between 24°C and 14°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 10th (Fri) so you can travel to Ningaloo.

Things to do in Sydney

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trip

Shelly Beach
Find places to stay May 22 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Bondi Beach ©
Bondi Beach
Manly Beach
Manly Beach
Sydney Harbour National Park ©
Sydney Harbour National Park

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